Domiciliary Care is the aiding and caring for individuals (Adults and Children) whilst they live at their own home – Not to be confused with ‘Residential Care Homes’ or ‘Residential Nursing Homes’, which is the care of people in a purpose-built facility.
There are around half a million carers in the UK – they are often thought of as undervalued and unappreciated. Many of them have qualifications relevant to the occupation, they are kept up to date by their employers with the latest regulations and laws with intense training. They work long unsocial hours for minimum wage or close to minimum wage, yet most are professional in their work and provide a service that is essential to hundreds of thousands of mainly elderly people.
The Domiciliary care sector is under pressure and underfunded in normal times. The press always focuses on the NHS, however the poor cousin in this chain, is the care given at home.
If the Covid-19 pandemic follows that of Italy and other countries, then the UK Government will close all the schools until the current Pandemic slows down, this could be maybe for weeks.
In the case of my Business, it is likely that around 50% of our care staff will be unable to attend work due to not having childcare in place. If this is repeated across the UK, then tens of thousands of mainly elderly and vulnerable people who rely on organisations similar to ours will be without help and assistance that many need in order to just to simply survive (feeding and medication are just two examples).
The problem is likely to be compounded by the fact that the NHS will be overburdened and will be trying to discharge patients from hospital to home, many of whom would need care visits in their own homes to assist with their convalescence.
The Government has admirably shown some forethought so far, by offering financial help for small companies with things like funding sick pay for instance.
I am raising this petition because I would like them to go further and provide funding for employers and childcare for care staff during this crisis. The money could be used by employees in many ways, for instance to pay childminders costs, parents or grandparents travel, if they live a distance away, so they can help.
It could also allow employers such as myself to offer enhanced rates of pay to staff during out of hours, then we could alleviate some of the impact by staff working shifts that otherwise they would not consider, such as very late shifts, very early shifts, weekends and nights. (NB times when they may have childcare options to call on from partners and family members who themselves would not be at work during these unsociable hours).
The Childcare issue is only one fallout from what may yet come, there will be the staff who have no childcare issues who could work normally but may also be off work to self-isolate if they contract the virus themselves. Thus, compounding an already critical situation.
The politicians must themselves have elderly members in their own families, and we need them to consider the thought of their own Mother or Father at home who are unable to move out of their bed or chair to go to the toilet, or empty their catheter bag, to have a meal and a drink and take their medication, much less having a familiar friendly face to give them some cheer. Please be prepared to help us, if this crisis unfolds Mr Johnson.